Barça's offensive threat is of the greatest in the world. But what makes them so efficient?
Obviously, Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez and Neymar Junior are among the best players in the world, and have been for years in the case of the former. But we've seen with Real Madrid and their 'Galacticos' that adding up stars doesn't always lead to success. Barça's DNA, Luis Enrique, the rest of the team and the profiles of those three forwards are many reasons why the Trident has been working so fine since its first instalment. Here are some more explanations about Barça's offensive success.
A trident, tactically ideal
To many, many, many coaches and football fans in the world, the 4-3-3 formation is the best of all. Whether you play with two holding midfielders, a false '9', a deep striker or two attacking midfielders, it seems to be the ideal formation to hold up the ball, create chances and avoid too much damage on the break. With a good animation like Barça's, in which pressing is a crucial concept and movement an innate asset, three forwards as good as Messi, Suárez and Neymar are lethal. Left, right and centre, danger comes from every way and it is almost impossible to stop. The repartition is excellent and the ball always moving. They play like they've known each other for years, because the formation suits them incredibly well. They're interdependent and independent at the same time. Of the 20 games they played together this season, only one team resisted and kept a clean sheet. It was the rival Espaynol in a very tense derby (0-0 at Power 8 Stadium). Apart from this goalless draw, every game in which Barça's MSN played ended up with Barça scoring goals, sometimes only one like at Vigo (Neymar, 4-1 loss) and sometimes 7 like against Valencia in Copa del Rey semi-final's first leg (Messi x3, Suárez x2). It seems moreover that the Trident is getting more and more accurate and powerful. They've scored 208 goals since the beginning of the 2014/15 season, 86 so far in the 2015/16 season. Completely insane. Besides, when one of them is missing, like Messi for a few months because of his knee injury, Neymar or Suárez during the first part of last season, the others still score and ensure the offensive efficiency. It is easier for Luis Enrique to balance his attack when one pillar out of three is missing. More than if he was only counting on one man, or a duo. The capacity of adaptabiliy is higher and the weight of their absence lighter. They're not only very complementary on the pitch, they're also individually very strong.
Pure talent helps
If somebody had to chose a Top 5 of the best forwards in the world, Messi, Suárez and Neymar would probably be there every time. Despite all the pressure put on by media, former players or opponents, the MSN trio succeeded in giving a clear and indisputable answer. It is not their first season at the top either. If he had no talent, Suárez wouldn't have been able to score 31 goals in 33 Premier League games (won the Golden Boot) with Liverpool in the 2013/14 season, despite a 5-game ban. He wouldn't have scored 49 goals in 2009/10 with Ajax, with 5 in Champion's League and 35 in 33 Eredivisie games. He is a pure scorer, and always have been. So far, he has scored 33 goals in 30 games. A scoring machine.
When Neymar arrived at Barça, the world of football was divided in 2 categories. On the one hand the scepticals, who thought that the difference of level between the Brazilian League and La Liga was too big for Neymar to become a superstar. On the other, the believers, who knew what Neymar had in him and who saw the same glow they had seen on Messi, on Cruyff, on Maradona, on Zidane or many others before them. Time proved them right. After a few months of adaptation, Neymar really climbed up a ladder and showed the entire world that his stats weren't just a matter of circumstances. Indeed, at 24 years old, he has scored 46 goals in 69 games with Brazil, 70 goals in 134 games with Santos and already 76 goals in 122 games with Barça. From a fancy dribbler, quick and original on the pitch as well as for his hairstyle, Neymar has turned into an offensive beast, capable of breaking ankles, winning balls, giving assists and ending games, just like in the last Champion's League final in which he scored the 3-1 goal, ending all hopes for Juventus. He is, according to his teammates, the next Ballon d'Or.
As for Leo Messi, there is hardly any need for explanation. Throughout his career at Barça, he has given people so many reasons to get off their seat and lose their sense of moderation. Although he is still looking for a big international trophy with Argentina - just like Neymar with Brazil - he won it all with Barça: 7 La Liga titles, 4 Champion's Leagues, 3 Copa del Rey trophies, 3 UEFA Super Cups, 6 Spanish Super Cups, 3 FIFA Club World Cups and 5 Ballon d'Or. He has scored 437 goals in 511 games with the Blaugranas, 21 goals in 23 games so far this season. Whether it is against Getafe for his Maradonaesque masterpiece, against Bilbao in last year's Copa del Rey final, against Iran in the summer of 2014 during the World Cup or in many other occasions, Messi is capable of creating magic out of nothing. He uses his teammates like no one could before, to score mountains of goals and give waves of pleasure to all football fans. With Neymar and Suárez on his side, he can share pressure and give offensive danger a whole different dimension.
The optimal atmosphere
Whether Cristiano Ronaldo likes it or not, atmosphere is crucial in a dressing room. Even though all players don't necessarily have to be friends, it always helps to have a few players getting along really well. It seems to be the case for Messi, Suárez and Neymar. All coming from different South American countries, they forget their national teams' rivalries when they live together in Barcelona. Their friendship is obvious, on and off the pitch. If Messi hadn't had that many problems with his kidneys and his knee, they would probably be on their way to make their best ever season, all three of them at the same time. When adversity comes, and opponents get stronger and more vicious, they keep having each other's back and keep finding solutions. They're virtually unstoppable, at least technically. Last but not least, they have a bit of luck with them. The best example is the latest penalty taken by Messi and destined for Neymar. Luis Suárez was not concerned by the two virtuosos' combination, yet he was the one who scored. It could have ended up in a drama like for Henry and Pirès' attempt. It didn't. That is how strong MSN trident is, and how impressive they look. And why there's no doubt as for choosing which is the best between MSN and BBC, despite the latter having scored 68 goals this season and 168 goals in the last year and a half.
To sum up, all it takes to get the perfect attack isWhen you get along like they do, it all seems less difficult. Maybe if PSG or Real Madrid kept insisting to sign the Brazilian, it could make the friendship shake a little. Hopefully it won't happen, because football deserves such an amazing display of talent.